Billy Graham funeral to serve as evangelist's final crusade

Rev. Billy Graham Dead at 99 / Cutout Photo: Paul Walsh / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Photo: BGEA / MGN
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Plans for the Rev. Billy Graham's funeral on Friday began about a decade ago with the evangelist himself.

Graham family spokesman Mark DeMoss said that "America's Pastor" began selecting songs, musicians and speakers for the service in the years after his public appearances dwindled. Graham died last week at age 99.

To the family, the service will be much like the crusades Graham used to reach millions during his lifetime. The funeral is invitation-only but will be broadcast on the internet.

The service features songs from gospel musicians who shared the stage with Graham at his crusades. Graham's oldest son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, will deliver the funeral message after shorter addresses by his other children.